League: East of Scotland Premier League

Musselburgh Athletic vs Blackburn United

East of Scotland Premier League – Saturday 27th November 2021

Musselburgh Athletic 4 (King 11, 24, 32p, Murrell 86p)
Blackburn United 1 (Browne 13p)

[match report by Derek Hall]

Plenty to play for on a bitterly cold day at Olivebank in the EOS Premier with Musselburgh Athletic aiming to stay in touch with the top three whilst Blackburn United went looking for a result to move them further from the scrap near the bottom. A cagey start saw the first real effort arrive on three minutes as Bradley Whyte fired a low long range left foot drive well wide for the home side and then Danny Campbell worked hard for the visitors on the right flank but his cross into the box drifted behind. After six minutes, Whyte did the spadework before finding Josh Jefferies and his low left foot 25 yard drive had United keeper Gavin King going low to make the save. A minute later, Conor Thomson got to the goal line and Jack Sayers made an excellent block to concede the games first corner which Musselburgh failed to profit from. A long through ball then dropped over the head of United centre half Marcus Miller but Jordan Smith just couldn’t get on the end of it and keeper King gratefully gathered the ball. However with ten minutes on the clock, the keeper could do nothing as the home side hit the front when a lovely ball from the left flank picked out Mathu King on the edge of the United penalty area and he managed to dig the ball out from under his feet before flicking the ball beautifully into the corner of the net with the outside of his right foot from 15 yards, taking the effort early before keeper King could set himself for a really classy finish. That early advantage only lasted for around two minutes with an equaliser which owed much to United’s Campbell who won the ball on the left wing before clipping a lovely pass inside to Richard Hutton and he skipped past one challenge and into the Burgh penalty area where he was upended by home keeper Ross McRae and referee Alastair Grieve was right there to award an obvious spot kick. United captain Michael Browne stepped up to cooly send keeper McRae the wrong way from the penalty and with almost thirteen minutes on the clock, we were back to all square. Jeffries tried an immediate response from distance for the home side but this one was well wide and Blackburn had taken heart from getting themselves level. On eighteen minutes, a free kick into the Athletic box after a foul on Daryl Meikle saw the ball ping around before keeper King scrambled the ball behind with Campbell again right there for the visitors. Callum Heath played the corner short to Dominic Kane and his long, looping back post cross was taken on the volley by Meikle from around nine yards and only a desperate lunging block by Liam Reid preserved parity for the home side. Browne was then in again for the visitors and only a brave block from keeper McRae kept the United skipper at bay although a short passback a few seconds later from Sayers had United keeper King under a little more pressure than he wanted before managing to clear. Not to be outdone, Reid then almost put his keeper McRae in a bit of bother with a back pass and United winger Hutton wasn’t far away from closing the Burgh keeper down. However, after 24 minutes, the home side relieved the pressure in the best possible way as Jordan Smith raced down the right flank and got his head up before stroking a lovely cross towards the near post and the incoming King didn’t have to break stride as he met the ball eight yards out and powered home a thumping header just inside the near post to put the home side back in front. A foul on 28 minutes by John McManus on Hutton saw United put six players into the Burgh penalty area so it must have been very frustrating when Heath’s delivery didn’t manage to clear the first defender. On the half hour, Whyte played a nice pass into the United penalty area wide on the left which tempted Sayers into an ill advised challenge, possibly on Orru, but the upshot was another clear spot kick and nobody was surprised when King stepped up to stroke the ball home low into the corner to claim a 21 minute hat trick and with just over half an hour gone, the home side had given themselves some breathing space and King was now thinking about clearing a space on the mantelpiece for the match ball. After 35 minutes, Lloyd Fiddler found Whyte and he laid the ball into the path of Orru whose 18 yard left foot angled drive was brilliantly tipped over by United keeper King and the keeper was soon involved again dealing with a speculative 35 yard half volley from Greg Page. United were looking to stay solid and ensure things didn’t get any worse before the break, but Heath got forward for the visitors to send a left foot drive from 24 yards over the crossbar. However, at the break, United had a few problems to solve and would be coming out in the second period knowing that the games next goal had to be theirs if they had any ambitions at all of taking something from a home side who had in Mathu King a striker who on this form looked like he could score at will.

Four minutes into the second half, Heath raced away down the right flank for the visitors but he was closed down by the Burgh defence before he could deliver any sort of cross. At the other end, Burgh defender McManus was almost playing like a right winger at times and a dangerous cross into the United penalty area was headed behind by Lyall Cameron. Jefferies corner found the head of Whyte and the ball then flashed across the United goal area before being cleared. After 52 minutes, the hard working Campbell laid the ball into the path of Hutton and his angled 15 yard drive brought out a good save from home keeper McRae at the second attempt. Two minutes later, Browne headed the ball inside the box to Campbell and his sixteen yard header hit the back of the Burgh net but the offside flag had gone up early and the header didn’t count. At the other end, Sayers misjudged a ball into the United penalty area and Orru dispossessed him before firing his left foot drive into the side netting from a fairly acute angle. After 57 minutes, a Reid clearance saw King break upfield for Burgh and as he went past Miller on the halfway line, the United centre half somewhat cynically took him down and referee Grieve didn’t hesitate in going to his pocket for the first time to look out his yellow card. A minute later, King was probably disappointed as he sent an unchallenged header from a McManus cross well wide of the United goal after a nice move begun in midfield by Fiddler. After 63 minutes, Campbell saw a shot from sixteen yards blocked behind by Page and the United striker was working tirelessly up front for his side whilst basically feeding on scraps and when the corner came over, the same player glanced a header across the Burgh goal area and wide. On 65 minutes, Musselburgh replaced hat trick hero King and also Whyte with Declan O’Kane and Aaron Murrell. Miller then received what had to be a final warning from referee Grieve for complaining about a nothing throw in, daft at any time but bordering on mental when you’re already carrying a yellow card. The game had gone a bit flat, Burgh were content to manage their two goal lead and Blackburn just couldn’t seem to carve out any real killer chances. On 68 minutes, the visitors made their own double switch as Kyle McClung and Heath made way for James Mildren and David Howe. Thomson and Murrell almost worked a nice one two on the edge of the United penalty area but Meikle read the situation and made the interception. Blackburn were frustrated again by a couple of offside flags in quick succession against Campbell and Hutton, both from passes by Sayers but with 15 minutes left they almost got the breakthrough as home keeper McRae somehow kept out a Sayers header, scooping the ball away as he was going down in the opposite direction. Meikle was then replaced by Bailey Ferris as Blackburn went to their bench again just before a Howe effort dropped for Ferris and only a good challenge from Reid stopped another decent chance for the visitors at the expense of a corner. With just over ten minutes remaining, Burgh made another double switch as Fiddler and Smith were replaced by Jackie Myles and Conner Fitzpatrick. On 83 minutes, Thomson sent a 25 yard effort over the top for a home side who hadn’t really fashioned a chance for a good ten minutes, whilst still remaining fairly comfortable. Six minutes from time, Murrell drove forward for Burgh, avoiding a clip from Browne, and his pass to Thomson saw the strikers shot deflected behind for a corner, at which point referee Grieve then went back and cautioned United skipper Browne for his earlier attempted trip on Murrell. The ball into the box saw a clumsy challenge by Cameron on Reid once again correctly penalised by referee Grieve and the game had its third spot kick, with the responsibility this time falling on the shoulders of Murrell, who made a lovely job of sending King the wrong way and tying the game up for the home side at 4-1. Before the game restarted, Burgh made their final switch as Ciaran Young came on for Thomson and he was on just in time to see Blackburn claim for another spot kick when Hutton’s powerful 22 yard right foot drive was blocked inside the box but referee Grieve was unmoved. Jeffries flashed an excellent corner kick right through the heart of the United goal area as we entered the final minute but in the end, it was the home side who took the points with an inspired first half performance being followed by a professionally managed second half which will doubtless give manager Joe Hamill a good deal of satisfaction on a day when Mathu King showed again why he is such a favourite in these parts. Blackburn worked very hard without really convincing anyone during the second half that they could turn things around, but a bit more support for the excellent Danny Campbell might yet yield dividends in future fixtures.

Musselburgh Athletic: Ross McCrae, Jordan Orru, John McManus, Josh Jeffries, Conor Thomson (Ciaran Young 86), Mathu King (Aaron Murrell 65), Bradley Whyte (Declan O’Kane 65), Liam Reid, Lloyd Fiddler (Connor Fitzpatrick 79), Jordan Smith (Jackie Myles 79), Greg Page. Unused subs: Liam Gregory, Harvey Tanner.

Blackburn United: Gavin King, Jack Sayers, Kyle McClung (James Mildren 68), Lyall Cameron, Marcus Millar, Dominic Kane, Calum Heath (David Howe 68), Michael Browen, Danny Campbell, Daryl Meikle (Baley Ferris 77), Richard Hutton. Unused Subs: Craig Saunders, Craig Young.

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Lothian Thistle HV vs Blackburn United

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Blackburn United vs Tranent Juniors

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Penicuik Athletic vs Blackburn United

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Blackburn United vs Linlithgow Rose

Blackburn United 1 (Garrad 87mins)
Linlithgow Rose 2 (Docherty 4mins, Stowe 83mins)

United continued an unwanted trend of losing early goals when a corner from the right caused a degree of panic in the centre of the six yard box and when the ball couldn’t be adequately cleared and spun towards DOCHERTY he had the simplest of tasks to clip it past an unsighted Craig Saunders. Despite Rose piling on the pressure and moving the ball quickly in search of a second goal it was Blackburn who came closest next, Dominic Kane firing a twenty yarder just past the right hand post before a back post cross picked out Marcus Millar to head down to the feet of Calum Heath but his shot was saved by Shaw at the bottom right hand corner. Linlithgow, though, were clever and lively and Sneddon set-up Docherty for a snap shot the crept narrowly past.

Seven minutes after the resumption a Heath free-kick found the chest of John Drummond but when the ball dropped invitingly for Laurie Devine he could only hook it over the top. At the other end Stowe hit the right hand byeline and cut an inviting ball back into the path of Sneddon but his shot was saved by the feet of Saunders before the same player had a pop from the angle of the box that flew over. With just under twenty minutes remaining a speculative ball over the top found Jack Garrad running onto it at the edge of the Rose area but he was sent flying by an ill-timed thrash at the ball by Shaw, who had rushed from his line, that instead caught the United players ankles and referee Mr. Calder had little option to brandish the red card at the Linlithgow No.1. Blackburn couldn’t make anything from the resultant free-kick though and, despite the mad disadvantage, it was the Prestonfield men who scored again, substitute Tommy Coyne robbing young Jack Sayers of the ball and threading a perfectly weighted pass through to STOWE who made no mistake in picking his spot behind Saunders. However, United were still causing problems and when Saunders long clearance was quickly controlled on the chest of GARRAD the young Hamilton Accies loanee was alert enough to see McMinn had advanced a few yards from his line and brilliantly lobbed him from all of forty yards. Right on time Blackburn had the ball in the net again when Howe’s pin-point cross was expertly thumped home by Richie Hutton but the near side linesman had adjudged him to have strayed marginally offside.

Blackburn United line-up: Saunders, Sayers, Millar, Mildren, Drummond, Kane (Howe 66), Heath (Smith 81), Meikle, Garrad, Devine (Sweeney 75), Hutton subs (not used): Baillie, Ferris, McClung, Clements

Linlithgow Rose line-up: Shaw, Thomson, Thom, Stowe, Docherty, McKenzie, Hare, Ogilvie, McMullan, Bremner, Sneddon Subs: McMinn, Lawrie, Coyne, Dublin-Green, Allan

Referee: Mr. George Calder
Assistants: Mr. Calum Doyle & Mr. Gianluca Marini

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Blackburn United vs Musselburgh Athletic

Blackburn United 2 (Heath 51, Garrad 64)
Musselburgh Athletic 2 (Jeffries 33, White 71)

Richie Hutton created the first chance of the game on 8 minutes when he flashed a shot goalwards which was deflected wide. From the resulting corner a John Drummond effort from the edge of the area was beaten away by Ross Mccrae in the Musselburgh goal.

On the 19 minute mark a run down the right by Jack Sayers saw him push the ball past Orru and fire in a low cross which just evaded the inrushing Danny Campbell. It was the latter who then had an attempt a few minutes later which flew just over.

The opening goal came on 33 minutes when a short corner was cleared but fell nicely to Josh Jeffries unmarked on the edge of the box and he fired as tremendous shot into the roof of the net to give the visitors the lead, which remained that way at the half.

Blackburn were on level terms six minutes after the restart when Callum Heath intercepted a loose ball, strode forward and then unleashed a daisycutter from 20 yards which flew into the bottom corner of Mccraes net. Three minutes later a Daryll Meikle free kick was met by Danny Campbell whose header flew inches wide.

On 64 minutes Blackburn took the lead when Hutton fed Heath wide right who bore down on goal but Mccrae got down well to touch it behind for a corner. From the corner, Mccrae punched the ball clear to Jack Garrad who fired the ball back in through a forrest of legs into the net.

However the lead lasted only seven minutes. A thrown in by Sayers deep in his own half found Dominic Kane but the ball was intercepted by O’Kane who played the ball forward and it eventually fell to Bradley White who curled a shot beyond Saunders.

Musselburgh began to dominate possession without creating any real clear-cut chances and the Blackburn defence held firm. Danny Campbell appeared to have a strong shout for a penalty after Mccrae bundled him over in the six yard box but the claims were waved away by referee Snedden. Deep into injury time a Callum Heath effort from distance flew just over the bar and that brought an end to a very competitive game.

Blackburn United: Craig Saunders, Jack Sayers, Marcus Millar, James Mildren, John Drummond, Dominic Kane, Callum Heath, Daryll Meikle, Jack Garrad (Lyal Cameron 86), Danny Campbell (Laurie Devine 81), Richie Hutton. Unused subs: Keiran Sweeney, David Howe, Lennon Smith, Baley Ferris, Johnny Clements (GK)

Musselburgh Athletic: Ross Mccrae, Callum Davidson, Jordan Orru, Declan O’Kane, Josh Jeffries (Lloyd Fiddler 69), Conor Thomson (Liam Gregory 69), Bradley Whyte, Liam Reid, Dean Ballantyne, Darren Downie (Jordan Smith 80), Greg Page. Unused subs: Jackie Myles, John McManus, Joe Hamill, Ethan Wynne

Referee: Iain Snedden
Assistants: Danny Mackinnon, Konrad Spalony

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Tynecastle vs Blackburn United

Tynecastle 2 (Ponton 10, Kennedy 87)
Blackburn United 1 (Heath 32)

It was Blackburn who created chances right from the kick-off when Callum Heath had a 20 yard shot palmed away by Jackson in the opening minute, and then shortly after Dominc Kane tried to find the bottom corner from the edge of the area which squeezed just past.

Tynecastle created their first chance on 9 minutes when Cameron latched onto a through ball but Saunders got down to block the shot, but the opening goal was only delayed by a minute when after a quick free kick the ball found its way to Arran Ponton who fired in a shot from just outside the box which flew past Saunders.

On the 20 minute mark, Sawyers slid in Richie Hutton and he let loose a shot from a tight angle which Jackson touched past for a corner. Just after the half hour the scores were level when a move down the right found Callum Heath just inside the area and he curled his shot past Jackson. The last chance of the half saw Heath’s free-kick fly the wrong side of the post.

The second half saw another quick opening, Danny Campbell long range effort was held by Jackson and play then moved up the other end when an effort from Hendry sailed over. Kennedy then had a run into the left-hand edge of the box and chipped the ball to the back post but the two strikers just failed to connect.

It was Kennedy moments later who tested Saunders, his shot took a deflection but Saunders managed to get down and block the shot. As Tynecastle began to dominate possession, Cameron again tested Saunders just past the hour mark, and then it was the same player who got the ball past Saunders but Jack Sayers cleared off the line.

At the other end Heath tried his luck from distance which crept over. With 15 minutes remaining, substitute David Howe fed a through ball to fellow sub Kieran Sweeney running clear, but Jackson got his hand to the shot to push it away.

Tynecastle pushed for a winner and this time Chesser had a shot blocked on the line by Saunders who gathered gratefully but with three minutes remaining, a Cameron cross from the right was well cut out by Miller but the ball fell straight back to Cameron and he fired the ball across goal again and this time the ball was stabbed goalwards but it seemed to be stopped on the line before Kennedy bundled it over for the winner.

Tynecastle: Jackson, Pennycuik, Hendry, Combe, Kennedy, Ponton, Chesser (Fisher 78), Hendry (Wolczynski 84), Cameron, Wales, Jardine. Unused subs: Power, Moffat, Craighead, Deya, Rae.

Blackburn United: Saunders, Sayers, Millar, Browne (Ferris 84), Drummond, Meikle. Heath (Mildren 84), Cameron, Campbell (Sweeney 72), Kane (Howe 72), Hutton (Devine 68). Unused subs: Smith, Clements.

Referee: Chris Newman

Assistant Referees: Kieran Whalen, Ewan Pow

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Blackburn United vs Crossgates Primrose

Blackburn United 1 (Millar 57mins)
Crossgates Primrose 4 (Aitken 9mins, McDonald 44mins, Muirhead 80mins, Ritchie 84mins)

The first real opening of the match for either side brought the first goal of the game when a delivery from the left found Lawrie lurking at the back post and when his shot drew a great double save from Craig Saunders in the United goal the ball could only be subsequently half cleared and when it fell to AITKEN on the edge of the area he fired into the bottom right hand corner. Lawrie then had a curling effort held as the visitors pushed for a second. At the other end a Danny Campbell cross was headed onto the roof of the net by John Drummond before, a minute from the break, Primrose doubled their advantage, McDONALD finding just enough time and space inside the six yard box to turn and hit a loose ball past Saunders.

Lawrie had a pop from distance early in the second half and Archie Campbell was denied by a Drummond block but it was blackburn who found the net moments later when, after Marcus Millar had nodded against the bar from a Danny Campbell corner, a second successive corner, this time taken by Calum Heath, saw Drummond outjump his marker to head down for MILLAR to bundle over the line. Graham then set up Muirhead for a shot that crept past the right hand post as the visitors re-established themselves in the game and, with only ten minutes remaining, they restored their two goal lead when a long ball launched forward saw Saunders advance too far off his line and MUIRHEAD took full advantage to place the ball beyond him and into the net. With the points secure, Crossgates added further to the scoreline when a Muirhead mishit fell perfectly for RITCHIE to slam home from point blank range.

Blackburn United line-up: Saunders, Sayers, Drummond, Cameron, Millar, Howe, Heath, Browne, McQuillan (Sweeney 70), Campbell, Hutton (Devine 70) Subs (not used): Mildren, Smith, Ferris, King

Crossgates Primrose line-up: Robertson, Muirhead, Brown, Graham, McAteer, McDonald, Ritchie, Aitken, S.Lawrie, Campbell, Graham Subs: Sawers, McGuire, Hunter, Breeze, McKenzie, N.Lawrie

Referee: Mr. Jordan Curran
Assistants: Mr. Dale Kerr & Mr. Keiran Martin

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Inverkeithing Hillfield Swifts vs Blackburn United

Inverkeithing Hillfield Swifts 2 (Spence 2mins & 81mins)
Blackburn United 2 (Campbell 22mins, Hutton 69mins)

Like the weekend visit to Camelon, United were behind early when ex-Raith Rovers striker SPENCE took advantage of a remarkable piece of good fortune to sweep the ball past an exposed Craig Saunders after a Lyall Cameron clearance ricocheted off Brough to deflect perfectly into his path and just like that Camelon clash too, scores were almost level when Danny Campbell nodded a Calum Heath cross narrowly over. Swifts then almost doubled their lead when Spence held up a long ball to pull it back for Mauchlen who sidefooted past from good position. Kelly then twisted into space and hit a twenty yarder that Saunders tipped away and the ‘keeper went one better moments later with a fantastic save from a Spence half volley. However, it was United who were next to find the net, a Heath corner from the right being brilliantly headed home by CAMPBELL. Within ten minutes and with Blackburn starting to take a grip on proceedings, the linesman’s flag brought celebrations of a second United goal to an abrupt halt after Richie Hutton slammed a Heath delivery into the roof of the net from a marginally offside position. Before the break, Jack Sayers and Heath linked down the right to set up David Howe for a pop at goal that Kaye saved.

Blackburn came agonisingly close to the lead seven minutes into the second period when Heath picked out Campbell for a swerving cross that clipped the face of the crossbar and fell just out of the reach of an off-balance Hutton with the goal gaping. Hutton then headed another Campbell cross just too high after good work from Howe and the latter too had an effort, his twenty yarder touched away from goal by the diving Kaye. However, five minutes later and it was third time lucky for HUTTON, substitute Laurie Devine showing a blistering turn of pace to race clear on the right and whip a delivery to the back post where he fairly clattered the ball high past Kaye. With the game slowing in pace and chances now at a premium it was perhaps against the run of play when the hosts claimed a share of the spoils with just nine minutes remaining, a wicked, left to right ball deceiving both Saunders and the United back line to land at the feet of SPENCE to guide into the waiting net.

Blackburn United line-up: Saunders, Sayers, Lawrie, Cameron, Millar, Meikle, Heath, Browne (Devine 57), Campbell, Howe, Hutton Subs (not used): Smith, Drummond, McClung, Sweeney, Gribben, King

Inverkeithing Hillfield Swifts line-up: Kaye, Paterson, Scullion, Mauchlen, McQueen, Murray, Brough, Hynd, Cowie, Kelly, Spence Subs: C.Simpson, Mitchell, T.Simpson, McLean, Wardlaw, Morris, Graham

Referee: Mr. Daniel Graves
Assistants: Mr. Chris Ashley & Mr. Tayler Martin

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Camelon Juniors vs Blackburn United

Camelon 3 (Wallace 2mins, Cowan 40mins, Baird 51mins)
Blackburn United 4 (Heath 30mins & 58mins, Hutton 68mins, McQuillan 81mins)

The quickest of starts by the hosts saw the Carmuirs men ahead inside two minutes when WALLACE was sharp to react to a ball arriving at his feet inside the box to lash it across Craig Saunders and in at the left hand post. However, United might have been level not too long thereafter when James Mildren won possession out on the right and whipped in a cross, but Andy McQuillan could only head it past the upright. Another glorious chance then came and went for the equaliser when Calum Heath made space to clip a ball into the feet of McQuillan who was duly upended as he maneuvered for space inside the box. Marty Lawrie saw his resultant penalty brush against the outside of the right hand post on its way past. McQuillan’s close control caused all sorts of problems for the Camelon backline again moments later and when he was once more brought crashing to the ground, the free-kick awarded some twenty yards from goal was guided around the wall and in at the bottom left hand corner by HEATH. On top of the game and looking for the lead, Blackburn were then reduced to ten men when Mildren caught Taylor high in front of the home dugout, although the Camelon man too was a little robust in his lunge for the ball, and the hosts made their man advantage count five minutes from the break when ex-United youth player Jackson COWAN curled a free-kick past Saunders.

It took only six minutes of second half play for the hosts to stretch their lead, BAIRD finding himself free inside the middle of the six yard box to sweep a cross from the right past an exposed Saunders. However, Blackburn still looked more than capable of breaching the Carmuirs Park sides defence and before the hour mark HEATH had halved the deficit with a beauty, cutting in from the right and curling an unstoppable effort past the flailing hands of Welna. Seven minutes later Heath was the provider for the deserved equaliser when he took advantage of McQuillan harrying Boyle into a mistake to deliver a pinpoint cross onto the head of Richie HUTTON to nod into Welna’s net. The hosts, though, were almost back ahead but for Saunders touching over a fine strike by Stevenson from the edge of the area. Jack Sayers then made a surging run on the right but couldn’t get his shot away as he might have liked, the ball falling for McQuillan whose effort was held. However, United were not to be denied and the fight back was complete when McQUILLAN refused to give up on a ball down the left channel, bullying his man out of possession and hairing in on goal to brilliantly fire past Welna from a tight angle for what proved to be the winner.

Blackburn United line-up: Saunders, Mildren, Lawrie, Cameron, Millar, Browne, Heath (Devine 77), Meikle, McQuillan (Sweeney 88), Howe (Sayers 35), Hutton Subs (not used): Drummond, McClung, Smith, King

Camelon line-up: Welna, Sandison, Lemetti, Boyle, Macisaac, Baird, Cowan, Wallace, Stewart, Taylor, Stevenson Subs: Mowat, Forrest, McDonald, McCafferty, Canavan, Gould

Referee: Mr. Craig Wilson
Assistants: Mr. Steven Adair & Mr. Derryn Brogan

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